We were really looking forward to the inaugural comedy night for the Totnes Studio at the South Devon Arts Centre in Totnes. The centre had only been opened the day before by “Whispering Bob Harris” and is so brand new the plasterboard has only just been nailed in, the ladies’ loos look a trifle “unfinished” and as for the gents…no doors on the cubicles makes for a slightly open plan, sharing, setting!
We arrived (eventually, after a phonecall for directions as we’d been driving round for several minutes trying to find the new venue) to find our headliner Pat “hug” Monahan gassing in the carpark with a very large bear and several other people. He recognised us from previous gigs, grabbed us both in “bear hugs” and we had our pics taken along with the cake we’d brought for him (more on the cake later!)
The bear and the other ladies there were with Pat who was doing a fundraising 5k run for their charity (a children’s hospice) the next day in Middlesborough.
Anyway, to the show. MC Garrett Millerick (Glitter Clerk Amir), who we have seen before several times, had a huge amount of new material, it is all done so WELL, and with such passion, that we enjoy him every time. He openly invites shock and censorship but in the end it’s all very moral and nobody is upset. (We are looking forward to seeing his full Edinburgh show on 22nd August at Underbelly 10:50pm)
Our opener was Paul T Eyres (Truly Please). Again, we have seen him before. Several pieces we knew, but with a few new lines we appreciated his act. He admits to being masculine in that he is “hairy” and to being feminine in that he is “sensitive” and was much appreciated by the inaugural audience.
A break, then another few minutes by our MC and we are on to our middle section. Giacinto Palmieri (Gamier Politician), dark, exotic and with a heavy Italian accent, was quite hard to understand at first…but once our ears became more attuned, was very enjoyable. With lots of material on his take on the UK, and the UK people on him, his act was funny and I for one would like to see him again.
Our second act in the middle section was the lovely Sandi Smith (Thin Sadism), rescue act for the (late lamented) Leaping Salmon gig on the 22nd March. With her lines on the more mature lady, her daughter, boobs and Brazilians, she again kept the audience amused throughout, and gets better every time we see her.
Another break and so to our headliner, the wonderful Pat Monahan (Ah! An Tampon). This is the third time we have seen him this year and, although he doesn’t get to use a lot of pre-prepared material, his act is never the same two shows running. I’d safely take the bet that he could do a show every night of the year and it would be a completely different set every time – because he is the ultimate riffer off of the audience. Whoever his audience are, whatever they do for a living, he remembers it, he appreciates them, he brings them up in his act and people LOVE him for it. He is the warmest, most touch feely (and not in a creepy way!) adorable person. He has social interaction down to a magnificent T. In the audience tonight was an old school friend, and at the end of the show we heard him say that Pat was just the same all through school, so anyone out there who might be cynically saying that it’s “all part of the act”; you are SO wrong!
Pat had met several of us before the show and had a fab Bollywood sound track start, coming on dancing appropriately, hugging various audience members and, jumping on a young guy’s back, getting a piggy back the last few yards to the stage!
Some Bollywood dancing didn’t convince a couple of youngsters to get on stage and get really into it but that didn’t stop him. Lots of riffing off the audience had us all in stitches (Paul from Paignton who apparently pushed his wife from home in a wheelbarrow!) alongside lots of poking fun at Dave, one of the guys from the Arts Centre, who had been responsible for getting the venue to its current state of decoration, and according to Pat, with a very large amount of Arts capital, (“you should see the size of his home extension!).
Nothing can be taken offensively because it is all delivered with love. Particularly liked was his joshing of the upstairs audience (more expensive seating with free glass of wine and table service) with his mime of drunkenly feeling his way downstairs in the unfinished building due to the lack of banisters!
After over an hour of audience interaction Pat said he’d better get on with some material and we had a short sublime set on his own particular love of cake, and why you are a certain age before you appreciate it, and his take on Health and Safety thanks to a job he used to have in repairing bridges…put it this way…if you don’t like heights, stick your fingers in your ears!
We also had a repeat of Pat being an audience member’s wing man to show him how to use dance “Gangnam Style” to entice a lady from her friend! Jasper, our young audience member, was enthusiastic and confident enough to raise cheers of audience approval on his “moves”.
At the end of his set Pat let everyone know about his 5k run for charity the following day and mentioned the cake we had brought as a literal “sweetener” to help ask for funds via the Bear’s fund raising bucket. Carole was handing out cake until nearly midnight as the last few audience members drifted away.
A fab night, a great venue (will be even more wonderful when it’s finished!) and we are looking forward to Ava Vidal next month!